The species is estimated to have suffered serious population declines since 1980, when an estimated 75,800 lions roamed the African savannah. Now, experts believe there may be 20,000 or fewer. This is a species in true danger.
In a move sure to be jarring to the worldwide trophy hunting industry, and that could gut South Africa's canned hunting industry, the United States signaled that it will classify the African lion as threatened or endangered across its entire range in Africa.
Needless killing of endangered species for trophies is inherently unsustainable, economically short-sighted, ecologically unsound, and morally wrong. The sooner it ends for lions and other imperiled animals, the better.
There are a lot of devoted animal advocates in Congress, and some very good bills moving forward. But there is also a lot of foolishness, selfishness, and greed in Congress and the snake and polar bear issues show off these characteristics in the worst possible ways.
Recently, African lions took one step closer to receiving much-needed protections from trophy hunters still eager to kill them despite their dwindling numbers. Of even greater importance is the fact that this announcement opens the door for everyone who loves big cats to take action.
Endangered Species Day provides an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the efforts that are currently underway to preserve our world's wildlife populations and discover how they can help.